4 Essential Oils Proven to be as Effective as Drugs for Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety disorder or occasionally experience panic attacks, you might want to consider 4 natural remedies that have been found to be effective in treating these conditions, without the side effects of anti-anxiety drugs. Here are 4 essential oils that are proven anti-anxiety remedies:

Bergamot Essential Oil—In a study published in the medical journal, Phytotherapy Research, scientists found that inhaling the essential oil of bergamot had a pronounced anti-anxiety effect in rats. According to their research, bergamot seemed to work by reducing the body’s stress hormone production. Excessively high levels of stress hormones are contributing factors in anxiety. Additionally, bergamot was found to increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

Lavender Essential Oil—In a study published in The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers found that when animals breathed the scent of lavender essential oil, they had significantly less anxiety. The reduction was comparable to the effects of the drug diazepam. Both males and females experienced a reduction in anxiety when exposed to lavender essential oils, but the effect was more pronounced in females. There are no known negative side effects of smelling lavender essential oil on a regular basis. Compare that to diazepam which has a lengthy list of side effects including: blurred vision, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, mood problems, memory loss, hallucinations, slurred speech, trouble walking, trouble urinating, disinterest in sex, tremors and sleep disturbances.

Rose Essential Oil—In another study published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, & Behavior, researchers assessed the effects of the essential oil rose in contrast to the drug diazepam and, as with the other essential oils, found it to have a similar effectiveness. That’s good news for anxiety sufferers interested in alternatives to the drug options.

Vetiver Essential Oil—In a study published in the journal Natural Product Research, scientists explored the anti-anxiety effects of vetiver essential oil compared to the drug diazepam and found the results were comparable. Vetiver demonstrated equivalent anti-anxiety effects to the drug.

Essential oils tend to be absorbed quickly into the body via the nasal membranes, thereby affecting brain responses to anxiety or other conditions. Choose the highest quality essential oils. Avoid any that have been diluted with other oils (a common practice among many suppliers, particularly for rose essential oil which tends to be quite expensive). Avoid “fragrance” oils which are actually synthetically created, offer no therapeutic value and may actually be detrimental to your health.

There are different ways to obtain the anti-anxiety benefits of these essential oils, such as using the oils on a handkerchief and breathing in the scent throughout the day, or using a diffuser or nebulizer. Many diffusers involve heat which can chemically alter the oils, so it’s preferable to choose options that do not involve heating the oils. Nebulizers are devices that spray microscopic particles of essential oils into the air where they are breathed. Either type of device can be found in many health food stores.

Avoid using the essential oils internally. The anti-anxiety effects of the oils can be obtained through repeated daily exposures to the scent of the oils for at least a few minutes each. It is not necessary to use all four of the oils. Choose the one you are most drawn to, is most accessible or best fits your budget. Consult your physician before discontinuing any medication or switching to essential oils.

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Martha P
Martha P14 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Martha P
Martha P14 days ago

Thank you for sharing

hELEN hEARFIELD7 months ago


Lesa D
Past Member about a year ago

i do NOT like lavender at all but the others are doable...

thank you Dr Michelle...

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

MaryBeth M.
MaryBeth M3 years ago

Most essential oils, but not all, can be taken internally either diluted in liquid or in a vegetable capsule. Certainly lavender and rose are used in cooking. Dried vetiver is available in capsules. There are sources with charts describing which oils must be diluted, how best to use, and which can be taken internally. It's not one size fits all.

Onita Caldwell


Debbie Foster
Debbie Foster3 years ago

Love lavender! Thanks!

Monica Collier
Monica Collier3 years ago

The article stated not to take internally but says the oils and absorbed through the nasal membranes. Sounds redundant. Now I guess they don't want anyone to drink it but still through membranes it is in the body.

Marianne B3 years ago

noted tfs